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Kay's House of Treats: February 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home Made Pizza

I love Sundays. Not only is the day ultra relaxing, but by having a late breakfast, there's more time to prepare an elaborate lunch. This week I made Pizza, and home-made Pizza is so much better and reasonable than Pizza purchased from outside. Not only is it fresh & hot out of the oven, but it can be completely customized.

Pizza Dough
Quantity ..Makes 3 Large Pizza's; We had two for lunch and froze the third one for dinner time.


  • 1 kg flour (maida)
  • One packet of instant yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • Oil  - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • Sugar - 2 tsp
  • Warm Milk 1 1/2 cup
  • Luke -warm water - 1/2 cup

Mix yeast with flour and then mix the salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and add eggs and oil. Start by mixing the dough by adding 1 cup of milk and then add half a cup more. Mix and knead the dough lightly.Add 1/2 cup of water little by little till the dough comes together and can be shaped in the form of a ball. Make sure that you don't knead the dough too much. Form the dough into a round and apply oil around the entire dough and then put it into a warm place to rise for at least 1 1/2 hour. After one hour, just flatten or knead the dough once and leave to rest again for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

In the meanwhile, prepare the fillings as follows:

Filling - Ingredients

Onions - 2 (chopped into small pieces)
Capsicum - 2 (chopped into small pieces)
Tomatoes - 2 (chopped) (Alternatively, the tomatoes can be sliced thinly and put on top of the pizza at the end after which they become dried, however, i don't like dried tomatoes hence I prefer to put chopped tomatoes)
Garlic Mushrooms - Instead of using plain mushrooms, I prefer making garlic mushrooms. For garlic mushrooms just take one can of buttom mushrooms, slice them thinly. Then heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add 2 tsp of garlic paste, saute the garlic paste for a minute then add the mushrooms. Season with a tsp of salt and 2 tsp of crushed red chilli flakes. Saute for about 5 minutes.
Olives (Green and Black) - 3 tbsp of each type of olives
Chicken - I used K&N's chicken chunks (about 100 grams) cut into small pieces
Cheese - 225 gms Mozzarella (Sliced) and 225 grams Cheddar Cheese (Grated) 

Assembling & Baking the Pizza:
Pre-heat oven to 200 Degree's Centigrade.The dough should have risen up and be quite soft. Knead it for like half a minute. Then put about a table spoon of oil on my tray, take a ball of dough and start sort of pushing it into the trays with my fingers. The dough is quite elastic so it will stretch a bit back into place. When it does that, i just let it rest for a minute while i start on the next tray and then come back and start pushing it into the corners.Once the dough has been placed in the trays, then let it rest for about 15 minutes before starting to top with the fillings.
My way of doing it is to first start with the sauce. Depending on the amount of time available, I either make my own sauce; use a combo of ketchup and chilli garlic ketchup; or use store-bought pizza. In order to make my own sauce, I take about about 2 tsp of garlic, saute 1 tsp of garlic in it, add 1 cup of tomato puree, then season with salt, chilli powder/red chilli flakes, Italian herbs, worchestire sauce & Italian herbs.

This time I had a bottle of store - bought pizza sauce which I needed to finish so I mixed about 2 tbsp of pizza sauce with 1 tbsp of Hot & Spicy ketchup for the base. Then I added 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of white pepper and 1 tsp of basil.
Then add a little bit of cheese, then add onions, capsicum, tomatoes, mushrooms and chicken. Then add grated cheddar cheese and slices of mozzarella cheese. After that finally top with the green and black olives so that they add a bit of color.

Then bake in the oven for about 35-45 minutes till the dough is light golden and the cheese is also melted and slightly brown on top. I prefer a crisper crust and top hence i bake it for a few minutes longer.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coconut Tea Cake

I love coconut and I love bundt cakes. The cake just looks so pretty when it comes out of the pan that it doesn't even need any extra icing/glaze or any decoration.

This cake is again taken from the book that I was talking about in this post. It's a delicious tea/coffee cake and the best part is that its open to a lot of variations. I tried the coconut lemon tea cake variation myself, but oranges could be used instead, or spices like cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg can be added to make  a coconut spice cake.
Recipe taken from Dorie Greenspan's book: Baking: From My Home to Yours

Coconut Lemon Tea Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (please stir well before measuring)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces - about 100 grams
  • 4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened), toasted or not
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of Half a Lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- or 10-inch (10-to-12-cup) Bundt pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, add the butter and heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted Add juice of 1/2 lemon to the mixture. Remove from the heat, but keep warm.
 Rub the grated zest of one lemon into the sugar till it becomes fragrant. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until pale, thick and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and stopping just when the flour disappears.
Keeping the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing only until it is blended, then steadily add the hot milk and butter. When the mixture is smooth, stop mixing and give the batter a couple of turns with a rubber spatula, just to make certain that any dry ingredients that might have fallen to the bottom of the bowl are incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and give the pan a few back-and-forth shakes to even the batter.
Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.

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So What if Cinnabon isn't in Karachi? ..

I absolutely love love Cinnamon Rolls.. I remember the first time I had them and surprisingly enough I had them at Dunkin Donuts and not at Cinnabon.  A friend had ordered them and I can still remember the most amazing cinnamon smell; I tasted one bite and my first thought was that I just have to try these out at home. So I went home, looked up a recipe online and considering I had never worked with dough before, they were pretty simple to make and so delicious.However, I now use the Cooks Illustrated Ultimate Cinnamon Buns recipe which is a much better and fool proof recipe compared to the earlier one I used. The recipe can also be found in Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking.

I know it looks hard, but its really a matter of kneading the dough then rolling it out; sprinkling butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on the rolled out dough then wrapping it into a cylinder and then just baking it in the oven.

On a later note, I did FINALLY try the "Cinnabon" Cinnamon rolls, and I was unfortunately disappointed. I mean, not that the rolls tasted bad, they just didn't measure upto my expectations. They smelled amazing, they looked really really good BUT in terms of taste, they tasted more or less like what I make at home with the price differential between home and outside food being so high in this case that it was not worth it. So yeah, my expectations for Cinnabon didn't measure up and based on that, even if Cinnabon comes to Karachi, I would still prefer having Cinnamon rolls at home :).


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Swedish Visiting Cake

I always used to look up recipes online. That used to be the best source available, or another option would be our cooking channels which while doing a great service of creating awareness about different cuisines & new ingredients take too much as they are shot in 'real-time'.
Based on this difficulty of finding good recipes and losing recipes because of spilled cake batter, I decided that I should invest in a baking book. So after lots of "googling" and reading about a hundred reviews/lists of "best baking books ever" I finally decided on getting the following book which turned out to be my best investment ever.
Update: I now have a bookshelf of cooking books, procured from Urdu Bazaar, ordered online and delivered through relatives abroad, or while wandering around in Sunday Bazaar.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Green Span

I have read this book page by page recipe by recipe twice. Every recipe in this book has been meticulously explained with the author giving an interesting anecdote/story/background to the recipe with little notes on the side detailing multiple variations/playing around that can be done with the recipe. 

This is such a simple cake, but the sprinkling of almonds and sugar of top elevates it to another level.

Swedish Visiting Cake
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for preparing pan (I used 100 gms of Nurpur Butter)
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
1/2 tsp almond essence (optional)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds; preferably unblanched, since the skins gives a good contrast to the white cake


Center a rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy oven-proof skillet, a 9-inch round cake pan or even a pie pan. I used a 9-inch cake pan.

Pour sugar into a medium bowl. Add lemon zest and blend zest into sugar with your fingers until sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Whisk in salt and vanilla and almond essence.

Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in flour. Finally, fold in melted butter. Scrape batter into prepared skillet or pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.

Scatter sliced almonds over top and sprinkle with sugar. If using a cake or pie pan, place pan on baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and a little crisp on outside; the inside will remain moist.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Green Span

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Chocolate Cake in Under 5 Minutes ..

You know those times when you are craving a piece of chocolate cake and you want it like in the next 5 minutes; well, that's actually doable and within 5 minutes. I had wanted to try making a microwave cake and when I saw this recipe at The Cupcake Project it was the push I needed to make it right away.

It's not the most amazing of chocolate cakes, but considering the time required and the ease of the recipe, its a great way to reduce a craving.
Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes

2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
4 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I love cinnamon but in case you don't like cinnamon that much, please add less)
 4 ½ teaspoons milk
1 tablespoons butter, melted
½ egg, lightly whipped
Icing sugar for sprinkling

Mix flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger in a small bowl.Mix in milk, butter, and egg.Pour the mixture in a ramekin/microwave safe glass bowl/individual silicon cupcake liner.Make sure you do not use any aluminum/metal pan in the microwave. Microwave on medium for one minute.

Microwave again on medium for thirty seconds. Use a skewer to test if the cake is done. If there are no crumbs when the skewer/knife is inserted then the cake is done. Alternatively, the cake should bounce back when touched with a finger. If cake is not done, then microwave for 30 seconds more.

Sprinkle with icing sugar in the end.

Adapted from Chocolate Spice Cupcakes for Two at PaulaDeen.Com

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cappuccino Bites

So this past month I have been on a cookie making spree. Cookies are a bit time consuming because only 1-2 trays can be baked at a time, but once they are made, they can be stored in a jar for about a few weeks.With just the right amount of sweetness and bursts of delicious coffee flavor, this small cookie tastes amazing with a cup of tea or on its own. 

Cappuccino Bites 
Adapted from Cappuccino Love Bites at BHG.com

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tbsp milk flavoured with 2 tsp instant coffee (Nescafe)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/4 cups cups  flour
1 tbsp instant coffee (I used Nescafe)

Beat butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add one cup of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until mixture is combined.. Beat in egg, coffee flavoured milk and vanilla essence until combined. Try to beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer and mix the rest with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about an hour so it becomes easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cookie sheets by putting parchment paper on them or grease cookie sheets. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar ans coffee crystals. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and sides are set. Don't let the cookies brown.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ready ....

Set ..

And GO !! ..

Welcome everyone :) .. to my very own blog and my very first blog post ..

I am not a procrastinator when it comes to doing anything else .. Being the first person with a comment or an offer to help or if something doesn't make sense .. but starting this blog has been a long way coming ..

But now that I am here .. I hope to keep you entertained with recipes along with random stories .. Mostly stories about my baking adventures, maybe some about myself and at the end of the day, with recipes that keep you coming back ..

During the day .. I am a marketing professional doing a typical 9 to 5 job .. but after I have punched out the time clock .. on my "OWN" time .. i love to bake .. from cakes to cupcakes to cookies to other not so typical desserts  .. and hence the motivation to start this blog ..

So here's a warm welcome to you and I hope to keep you all entertained ..